Reliever Richard Rodriguez
It, obviously, remains to be seen how the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen could shake out to start the season. However, a stab can be made at which eight relievers the Pirates would break camp with. Due to players having time to recover from spring training injuries, this list is different than it would have been had the coronavirus pandemic not suspended Grapefruit League play.
Taking into consideration players who are out of minor league options, the Opening Day bullpen would likely look like this:
- Keone Kela
- Kyle Crick
- Nick Burdi
- Michael Feliz
- Steven Brault
- Clay Holmes
- Robbie Erlin
- Chad Kuhl
With expanded rosters, this group will be added to. While there are multiple relievers that could, and likely will, benefit, the first one that comes to mind is Richard Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has been a stalwart in the Pirate bullpen the past two seasons. While his overall numbers last season regressed following a terrific 2018 campaign, he did pitch much better after a trip to Triple-A.
The main reason Rodriguez could have wound up on the outside looking in when it comes to the Opening Day bullpen is due to him still having minor league options, unlike pitchers such as Feliz and Holmes. But with expanded rosters, Rodriguez should find himself back in the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen whenever Opening Day arrives.